Hands on: Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

Balancing affordability with decent specs

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The 50 Oxygen Plus is a decent affordable smartphone, but with bigger names with strong handsets in this sector it'll find it difficult to stand out.

For

  • Low cost
  • Strong specs
  • 4G with Lollipop incoming

Against

  • Looks and feels cheap
  • Limited availability
  • Performance a little lacking

Don't let the design of this handset fool you, while the Archos 50 Oxygen Plus may appear to be styled on Apple's flagship smartphone this is a distinctly mid to low-end device.

In fact with a SIM-free price of just £149.99 (around $230, AU$300) for the 3G model the 50 Oxygen Plus offers decent value for money - on paper at least.

While the 3G model is available to buy now, if you hold on until June a 4G variant with Android Lollipop on board will make an appearance. It will be a touch more expensive, but you're only look at an extra £30 or so.

Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

For your money you get a 5-inch 720p display, 1.4GHz octa-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with a microSD slot for expanding on that, 8MP and 5MP cameras, dual SIM support and a 2000mAh battery.

Going back to the look of the 50 Oxygen Plus and there's no denying it looks an awful lot like the iPhone 6.

The rounded corners, curved edges, camera placement and detailing on the rear of the device all scream Apple, but pick it up and you'll immediately notice the lack of a premium finish.

Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

This is an undeniably plastic device, and it feels cheap in the hand. It's not poorly built, it is solid, but it's not fooling anyone into thinking it's more expensive than it is.

The lightweight nature of the phone - it's just 125g - adds to the cheap feeling, but it's not a bad thing considering the price you'll pay and it means you can hold it for extended periods without your wrist falling off.

At 143 x 72.5 x 7.2mm it's a relatively compact 5-inch smartphone and I was easily able to wrap my hand round the 50 Oxygen Plus.

Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

Archos has opted to stick the Android navigation buttons below the display, and rather confusingly it's stuck the old "menu" icon in the line up rather than the newer "multi-tasking" option.

The power/lock and volume keys are on the right side, in an easy to hit location, while up top you'll find the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Take a peek at the base of the 50 Oxygen Plus and again there's a strong sense of Apple déjà vu, with a centralised microUSB port flanked by drilled speaker holes.

Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

I got hands on with the 3G version of the 50 Oxygen Plus, so that meant I had Android KitKat at my fingertips.

Fans of Google's interface will be pleased to learn Archos has left it alone, with the handset running the stock build.

Considering there's an eight core processor under the hood I wasn't overly impressed with the performance on the Oxygen Plus.

Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

I didn't experience any lag, but I expected things to feel a lot snappier than they were. Most applications opened pretty quickly, but the odd one took an extra second or so.

Android does look good on the 1280 x 720 display, with strong bright colours and easily legible text making for a decent viewing experience - especially for a lower tier device.

The camera offering on the 50 Oxygen Plus, 8MP on the back and 5MP on the front, is strong at this price point, although I found the shutter to be a little slow and pictures did look a little grainy.

Archos 50 Oxygen Plus review

Early verdict

Archos isn't exactly the first (or second, or third) name that springs to mind when you think of mobile phone manufacturers, and the fact the 50 Oxygen Plus will only be available via the firm's website means few people will actually see it.

That said, if you're looking for an affordable device with a decent spec line up than the 50 Oxygen Plus certainly fits the bill, and you're unlikely to see anyone else with one. Now that's exclusivity for you.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

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